Lindsay Kinkade: 2013 Big Brain Awards Finalist, Design

Lindsay Kinkade book.jpg
Lindsay Kinkade
The aptly named Little Giant focuses on doing small experiments and using the process to translate results to a larger scale. In a recent project with Phoenix Center for the Arts, Kinkade filled an entryway with pieces of brightly colored paper that read "We are the center of." Anyone passing by was invited to complete the statement and contribute to a what she calls a participatory visioning process. The exercise is small, but it helped kick off an identity redesign for the center that manifested in things like a website rehaul and a mural on the exterior of the building.

Though this type of work may seem somewhat intangible, the results can be very concrete. Kinkade taught a class on public policy and public engagement at RISD and has written a book on the subject. This is her passion, she says, and she can't imagine working in any other way.

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Phoenix Design Week 2012 Poster by Lindsay Kinkade
Since moving to Phoenix a year and half ago for the increased sunlight and the larger population, Kinkade has been focused on reinventing what she calls the user experience of downtown. Projects like Welcome to Phoenix, a website she is working on with Jim McPherson, seek to reframe how people view the downtown experience. For Kinkade, it's all about increasing awareness of what is out there and constantly inviting people to get involved.

"If the thing we're creating is the best version of a city, we should be inviting all the people of the city into that process," she says.

There aren't too many designers around the Valley doing this type of work, Kinkade knows, but she isn't worried. "We can sit around and be grumpy about Phoenix forever," she says, "or we can see it as a place of constant invention."

Buy a $10 ticket to enjoy an evening of food, drink and entertainment April 27 at the Monarch Theater in downtown Phoenix. Meet the finalists and learn who won during our Big Brain celebration, Artopia.

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